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Subject: Bridge Bidding for Gamers #5 -- Responding to 1 of a minor (1m) opening rss

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Brian Bankler
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This is the 5th in a series explaining the (very) basics of Bridge Bidding in a logical way.

Prior articles:
Bridge Bidding for Gamers -- Lesson #1 :: Which bids are forcing
Bridge Bidding for Gamers #2 -- Responding to 1NT Openings
Bridge Bidding for Gamers #3 -- Raising the One of a Major Opening
Bridge Bidding for Gamers #4 -- Responding to One of a Major without a fit

In this article we'll address responding to 1-of-a-minor (1m) openings.

Remember: Opening 1 of a minor tends to deny a five card major (barring really freaky shapes) and only promises 3 cards in the bid minor.

As always, when partner opens 1 of a suit he shows roughly 12-20 points. So your point range determines the action:

0-5 HCP -- You pass, since there is no game
6-9 HCP -- You must keep the bidding alive, in case partner has a strong hand
10-12 HCP -- You should invite game
13+ HCP -- You should force to game

Whenever responder bids a new suit (after a suit opening) it shows 6+ HCP and is totally forcing (since responder hasn't shown an upper limit).

Responder's priority is to show any 4 card (or longer) major. If you have both four card majors you bid "up the line" (hearts first). The reason is that if you bid spades and opener has hearts, he may not have enough points to show it. If you bid hearts, opener can bid 1 spade, and you've found your 4-4 fit.

(If responder bids spades and then later hearts, he promises 5 spades and 4 hearts).

By far the most common bid after a 1D or 1C opening bid is "One of a major."

(Whether you should bid 1 diamond after 1 club with 4 diamonds and a four card major is a matter of taste).

Other bids:

* 1NT shows 6-10 HCP balanced, and denies a four card major
* 2NT shows 11-12 HCP balanced, and denies a four card major
* 3NT shows 13-15 HCP balanced, and (surprise!) denies a four card major

Raising partner is the same as after one of a major. But because partner only promises 3 cards, a raise promises 5 cards (although with diamonds you can raise with four, if you always open 1 Club with 3-3 in the minors).

* A simple raise (to the two level) shows 6-9 HCP.
* A jump raise shows 13+HCP and is forcing.
* With 10-12 you have to temporize (probably by bidding the other minor) and then raise to 3 of a minor.

These line up pretty much with the above point ranges.

(Many people play that jump raises are limit raises and forcing raises may temporize).

Also, there are two ways to play jumps in a new suit (called a jump-shift). It can be
* that suit and a huge hand (19+ points, strong jump shifts) or
* a hand too weak to bid (0-5) with 6+ cards.

Strong jump shifts are traditional, but rarely played by experts (because they almost never show up).

Finally, if your partner opens 1D, you can bid 2C with 10+ HCP. If you don't have that, you may be forced to bid 1NT with an unbalanced hand with long clubs.

The big difference between raising a minor suit and raising a major suit is that raising a Major is usually your first priority (if you have an 8 card fit), whereas raising a minor is your last priority. That's because with an 8+ card fit you make game in four of a Major (4M), but game is 5 of a minor (5m), and tends to require closer to 28 HCP. So in those cases you look for 3 NT.

Your quiz:

Your partner has opened 1 Club.
1) S:AQTx H:AK D:Qxx C:Kxxx
2) S:KQJx H:xxxx D:xxx C:xx
3) S::xxxxx H:Qxx D:xxxx C:J
4) S:ATx H:KJx D:QJxxx C:xx
5) S:xxxx H:Kx D:xx C:KTxxx

Answers:
1) S:AQTx H:AK D:Qxx C:Kxxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Even though you are definitely going to force to game, and probably look for a slam, start with 1 Spade.

2) S:KQJx H:xxxx D:xxx C:xx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Even though your spades are much better, still bid 1 Heart first. You are only promising four small cards, and 6 HCP

3) S::xxxxx H:Qxx D:xxxx C:J
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Pass is the bid with 0-5 HCP. But not you may be in a silly contract. Your hand is actually worth 6 HCP ... if partner has spades. So some people would bid 1 Spade to improve the contract. Or even bid 1 Diamond, planning to pass partner's 1 Heart or 1 Spade rebid. This is not without risk. If you bid, partner may bid 3 Clubs. Then you'll wish you'd passed 1C. Sometimes the "wrong" bid works and the right one fails.

4) S:ATx H:KJx D:QJxxx C:xx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
2NT. No four card major, balanced, 11 HCP.

5) S:xxxx H:Kx D:xx C:KTxxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1 Spade. Yes, you could raise, and game is almost certainly not going to happen, but the way it might happen is if opener has four spades. If opener bids 1NT, then you'll bid 2 Clubs, showing a club raise with 4 spades.


Partner opens 1 Diamond:


6) S:ATxxx H:KQxxx D:x C:Ax
7) S:Qxx H:xx D:x C:KQxxxxx
8) S:Kx H:Axx D:Jxxxx C:Jxx
9) S:AQx H:KQJxx D:K C:AJxx
10) S:KJxx H:Qxxxx D:x C:Qxx

Answers:

6) S:ATxxx H:KQxxx D:x C:Ax
Spoiler (click to reveal)
With 5 cards in each major, bid spades first. Partner will assume you have 4 spades and less than four hearts. But when you later bid hearts bid, partner will know you have a fifth spade. This lets you find a fit when opener has 3 spades. Here, you have a fifth heart, so you may have to bid hearts twice to show it, but that's beyond the scope of this lesson.

7) S:Qxx H:xx D:x C:KQxxxxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1NT. Bidding 2 Clubs shows 10+ HCP. As with 1 of a major opening, a 1 NT bid after 1D can sometimes be unbalanced.

8) S:Kx H:Axx D:Jxxxx C:Jxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
2D. Finally, a raise! You don't have a 4 card major, and you have five diamonds.

9) S:AQx H:KQJxx D:K C:AJxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you are playing Strong Jump shifts, then you can bid 2 Hearts, showing a monster hand. But if you aren't, you can bid 1 Heart, and its still 100% forcing. Of course, then you'll have to force again next round....

10) S:KJxx H:Qxxxx D:x C:Qxx
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1 Heart. With 4 spades and 5 hearts, you bid hearts first. If partner bids spades, you can raise. If not, you can bid hearts again (if you have a way to show your points) to show a 5th heart.

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David Goldfarb
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In the body of your article, you might want to clarify the jump shift response to say that you either play them as strong or you play them as weak. The way you have it phrased now, someone could misread you as saying that the jump shift response is a two-way bid showing both hand types as possibilities.

(Personally, I rather like Soloway jump shifts: they give you nice easy bidding sequences on a bunch of slam-range hands that are otherwise awkward to handle. They are beyond the scope of an article like this, of course.)

In your quiz, you need to fix the close-spoiler tag on answer 1; it got malformed, causing answer 2 to get eaten by answer 1.
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Brian Bankler
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Fixed.

As for Soloway Jump Shifts -- I agree they show up more often than traditional Strong Jump Shifts. But I have played them in my most common partnership (30-40 sessions a year) for over 5 years and on only two hands did I ever pick up a qualifying hand after partner opened.

Both times my RHO preempted.

We still have them on the card after 1m openings, but I'm waiting for one to show up.
 
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